HIV/AIDS and the Young African American Woman
It is not in our nature to keep quiet. So do what comes natural …
GET YOUR TALK ON!
Expressing Self-Love Through The Decisions We Make
Did you know that … African Americans now represent 36 percent of all reported AIDS cases and 43 percent of new AIDS cases, even though African Americans comprise only 13 percent of the U.S. population.
African American women have the highest percentage (60 percent) of all AIDS cases reported among women, 64 percent of new AIDS cases among women, and three times the number of new cases reported among white women.
Shocked? Don’t be shocked. Be safe!
We have the power to take control of our lives! HIV/AIDS affects African American women more than women in any other ethnic group. It’s time we use the most powerful tool we have to fight the battle against HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
Many of us sistas find talking about sex difficult. Our partners may get angry or defensive. They sometimes feel that we are accusing them of something or that we don’t trust them. Talking is especially hard when a young woman has an older partner because the older partner tends to have more power in the relationship. Often, we look to the older partner for information about protection against pregnancy and HIV and may get wrong information. An older partner usually has more sexual experience and is more likely than the younger partner to have prior experience with illegal substances. Both of these factors increase the older partner’s risk of being infected with HIV and put the younger partner, too, at risk.
Some of us disassociate ourselves from HIV/AIDS. We may choose not to talk about the epidemic because we believe the government created HIV to get rid of African Americans. The truth is—no one really knows where or how HIV first infected people. What we do know is that it exists and that there are ways to prevent infection.
This pamphlet gives tips on talking with our partners about several important issues:
- Relationship expectations
- Past and present sexual relationships
- Past and present drug use
- Contraceptive use
- Testing for HIV and STIs.
Talking about these issues will be easier if we:
- Set up a mutually convenient time to talk
- Choose a neutral, relaxing environment where no one will feel like he/she is being interrogated
- Make sure that we use “I” statements when talking. For example, I would feel more comfortable if we used a condom.
So, with these things in mind, let’s get our talk on!!!
When a relationship begins, we may assume that it’s monogamous. We shouldn’t assume anything!! We need to talk with our partner about expectations for the relationship and discuss what monogamy means to each of us.
Surveys show that when monogamy is not discussed and a partner cheats, the cheating partner tends to justify him/herself because the couple set no ground rules. Many people contract an STI when a partner has unprotected sex with someone outside of the relationship.
We need to communicate to our partner our feelings about infidelity. If we have zero tolerance for cheating, we should communicate to our partner that infidelity will end the relationship. We also need to make clear to our partner that a main concern about fidelity is protecting the health of both partners.
- Being a good listener means letting a partner know that we hear, understand, and care about what he/she is saying and feeling.
- If you suspect your man is cheating, arguing won’t help. The situation calls for calm, clear discussion. If we can’t discuss the situation calmly, we can set another time to talk.